Revive Our Hearts Podcast

If You're Missing Baby Jesus

Leslie Basham: One time on Christmas Eve, a young lady received a mysterious phone call.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: "It was my mother, with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. 'Now what has she gotten us into?' my father groaned as we bundled up again."

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, December 27. All this week Nancy's been in the studio with a dozen young ladies, reading some special Christmas stories. If there are some girls in your home, I think they'll enjoy today's program. If you can, why don't you listen together? Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The story we're going to tell today is called "If You're Missing Baby Jesus, call 7162." While I read this story, I want you to be thinking about a question. How does this story remind you of what Jesus did for us? The story is told by a woman. She is remembering back to the time when she was a little girl.

She says, "When I was a child, my father worked for an oil company in North Dakota. The company moved him around to different parts of the state. At some point, between one move and another, we lost our family nativity set. Shortly before Christmas in 1943, my mother decided to replace it and was happy to find another at our local drugstore for only $3.99.

"When my brother Tom and I helped her unpack the set, we discovered two figures of the baby Jesus. 'Someone must have packaged this wrong,' my mother said, counting out the figures.

"'We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies.

"Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a baby Jesus. You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus.

"Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a baby Jesus, call 7162,' my mother instructed. 'And don't forget your mufflers. It's freezing cold out there.'

"The manager of the store copied down my mother's message. The next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, 'If you're missing baby Jesus, call 7162.' All week long we waited for the call to come.

"Each time the phone rang, my mother would say, 'I'll bet that's about Jesus.' But it never was.

"My father tried to explain that the figurine could be missing from a set in Walla Walla, Washington, and that packing errors occurred all the time. He suggested that we just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.

"'Surely someone will call,' my mother said. 'We'll just keep them together in the manger until someone calls.'

"When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, my mother insisted that my father just run down to the store to see if there were any sets left.

"'You can see them right through the window over on the counter,' she said. 'If they're all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight.'

"'Run down to the store!' my father thundered. 'It's 15 degrees below zero out there!'

"'Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you,' I said. 'Tommy and I will bundle up good, and we can look at all the decorations on the way.' My father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet.

"'I can't believe I'm doing this,' he muttered. 'Each time the phone rings, someone yells at me to see if it's about Jesus. Now I'm going off on the coldest night of the year to peek in a window to see if He's there or not there.'

"My father muttered all the way down the block, while my brother and I raced each other up to the window where the tiny lights flickered on and off around the frame. 'They're all gone, Daddy!' I shouted. 'Every set must be sold!'

"'Hurray!' my brother joined in, catching up with me. 'The mystery will be solved tonight.'

"My father, who had remained several steps behind us, turned on his heel and headed back home. Inside the house once more, we saw that the extra figurine had vanished from the set. My mother appeared to have vanished, too.

"'Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine,' my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. 'You kids get busy stringing popcorn strands for the tree, and I'll wrap your mother's present.

"We had almost completed one strand when the phone rang. It was my mother with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk.

"'Now what has she gotten us into?' my father groaned as we bundled up again. 'Wrap that milk up good in a blanket, or it will turn to ice by the time we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 degrees below out there now, and the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this!'

"The house at 205 Chestnut Street turned out to be the darkest one on the block. One tiny light burned in the living room. The moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, 'They're here! They're here! Oh, thank God you got here, Ray.

"You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies.'

"'Would you mind telling me what's going on, Ethel?' my father asked. 'We have just walked through below-zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.'

"'Never mind all that now,' my mother interrupted. 'There's no heat in this house. This young mother is so upset she doesn't know what to do. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.'

"My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk, while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch.

"The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing and almost every piece of furniture. But she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

"'I've been doing washin' and ironin' for people and cleanin' the drugstore,' she said. 'I saw your number every day there on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going through my mind, 7162, 7162. It said on the box that if a person was missing Jesus, they should call you.

"That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willing to help folks. I figured that maybe you could help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your missus.

"I'm not missing Jesus, mister, 'cause I sure love the Lord. But I am missing heat. Me and the kids ain't got no beddin', no warm clothes. I got a few Christmas toys for them, but I got no money to fix that furnace.'

"'Okay, okay,' my father said kindly. 'You've come to the right place. Now let's see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. I'll look it over and see what it needs.'

"My mother came into the living room, carrying a plate of cookies and a tray with warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of the baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of the Christmas season in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.

"One of the littlest ones woke up and crawled out from under the blanket. Seeing all the strangers in his house, he began to cry. My mother swooped him up in her arms and began to sing to him.This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing, she crooned while the child wailed. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the baby, the Son of Mary. She sang and danced the baby around the room until he settled down again.

"'Do you hear that, Chester,' the young mother said to another child. 'That woman is singing about the Lord Jesus. He ain't never gonna walk out on us. Why, He sent these people to us just to fix our furnace. We'll be warm tonight.'

"My father, finishing his work on the oil burner, wiped his hands on his muffler and said, 'I've got it going, but you need more oil. I'll make a few calls tonight when I get home and we'll get you some oil.'

"When my father calculated that the furnace was growing strong once more, our family bundled up and made our way home. My father didn't say a thing about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the front door when he was on the phone.

"'Ed! Hey, how are you, Ed?' I heard him say. 'Yeah, merry Christmas to you, too. Say, Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pickup truck. I wonder if we could round up some of the boys and find a Christmas tree, you know, and a couple of things for...' the rest of his conversation was lost in a blur of words as my brother and I ran to our rooms and began pulling clothes out of our closets and toys off of our shelves.

"My mother checked through our belongings for sizes and games she said might do and added some of her own sweaters and slacks to our stack.

"We were up way past our bedtime that night wrapping our gifts. The men my father had called found oil for the furnace, bedding, two chairs, three lamps and had made two trips to 205 Chestnut street before the night was done.

"Our gifts were piled into the truck on the second trip. Even though it must have been 30 degrees below by then, my father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figurine in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think there are a number of special lessons in that story. How did it remind you of what Jesus has done for us? Shawna?

Shawna: Sometimes our hearts, like the furnace, our hearts and the flame in them go down. But then as the furnace worked again, it's like we're serving God again. We're new in Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Isn't it like Jesus comes along and our hearts kind of get cold? He comes and reheats them and lights up our fire and our love for Him again?

Shawna: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Good. Chelsea?

Chelsea: It reminds us that we are the poor people and we need to call on Jesus for help.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We may not be physically poor, like they were. Maybe your dad hasn't left or you don't have a furnace that's not working. But what are some other ways that we might be poor? Alicia?

Alicia: We don't have Him in our life and He is not there to help us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our sin makes us poor, because we're in bondage to our sin, aren't we, until Jesus comes and saves us from our sin. Margo?

Margo: Also that we should be happy to do the things that God wants us to, like the children were happy to go with their father.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So God can use us to help other people in need and use us to express the love of Jesus. Let's stop and thank the Lord for His kindness to us for reaching out to us and thank Him for what Christmas means to us because of what Jesus has done.

Oh, Father, we love You so much and thank You that when we were poor and needy, when we could not help ourselves, You sent Jesus. You sent Him to find us and to help us and to save us and not only to be born as a baby, but to grow up and to become a man and to go to the cross and to die on that cross and give His life to pay the price for our sin. You came to our rescue.

You are our great Savior and we give You thanks and worship You in Jesus' name. Amen.

I've really enjoyed spending this week with this particular group of young women. As I look into these girls' eyes, I'm so encouraged because I see them taking the baton of faith from some of us who are older believers and eagerly embracing the heart of God and the ways of God and learning to love Him and His Word. That's a really important part of our mission here at Revive Our Hearts.

One of my burdens for many years has been to see God raise up a new generation of young women who would love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their strength and who would grow up to be truly virtuous, pure, wholehearted women of God.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with your prayers and with your financial gifts, you're not only investing in this current generation of women; but you're also making an investment in the next generation as we're seeking through Revive Our Hearts to train women how to train their children, their daughters, their sons in the ways of God.

So thank you for your support that is making that possible.

Leslie Basham: Would you consider joining in the mission of Revive Our Hearts? You can send your tax-deductible donation to Revive Our Hearts.

Don't forget that from now until the end of the year, your gift will be doubled. A friend of this ministry has offered to match any gift given up to $150,000. You can increase the effectiveness of your donation by getting it in the mail before the end of 2002. Call 1-800-569-5959. You can also get information at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Did you know that Moses has some wise advice for the start of the new year? Find out what it is next week. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

*"If You're Missing Baby Jesus, Call 7162," (from Christmas Stories from the Heart, 1997, Multnomah Publishers).

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.